Desmond to Enter London Freesheet Market?

19 November 2002

British media baron Richard Desmond – owner of such ‘adult’ titles as Asian Babes, Big Ones and the Daily Express – is said to have a “glint in the eye”.

The reason? Not the latest nude reader’s wife, but the far sexier subject of a new London evening freesheet.

Desmond is reportedly planning a new title to take on the London Evening Standard and existing morning freesheet Metro – both owned by Associated Newspapers, arch-rival of his own Express Newspapers unit.

Now published in several areas of the UK, Metro has been a runaway success since its launch in 1999. In London, it has a circulation of 395,264, though commuters’ tendency to leave copies on trains for others means the readership is far higher.

According to one Express mole, Desmond’s plans are nearing completion. “It's going to be an evening version of Metro distributed in central London at stations. They've set up distribution and everything already. They've moved on it very quickly, although there's no launch date yet.”

However, a separate Express source stressed the paper is still at an early stage of development. “Desmond would like to launch a London paper,” said the insider, “but he would also like to sell two million copies of the Express.”

Which, based on its latest ABC circulation – down 7.3% to 929,877 [WAMN: 13-Nov-02] – could take a lifetime.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff